Top 10 Best Dynamic Microphones – The Core Of Every Recording Studio

Dynamic microphones are among the gear that every single studio depends on. They are relatively affordable, extremely durable and robust. Today we are going to show you what we think may just be the absolute best dynamic mics on the market. Once we go over them, we will talk a bit about what makes dynamic mics so versatile, how to use one and what different applications they are suitable for. By the time we’re done, you should have all the necessary information about this particular type of studio equipment. There’s plenty to talk about, so lets get right to it.

Top 10 Best Dynamic Microphones

ImageMicrophones / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Electro-Voice RE20 Electro-Voice RE20

Total of 4.88/5  

A combination of rock solid hardware and advanced tech that works great.

+ - Shure SM7B Shure SM7B

Total of 4.83/5  

One of the most versatile dynamic vocal mics currently available out there.

+ - Electro-Voice RE320 Electro-Voice RE320

Total of 4.47/5  

Proper studio tool that can serve for both vocal and instrument recording.

+ - Telefunken M80 Telefunken M80

Total of 4.40/5  

An extremely versatile piece of gear that is threatening the current favorites.

+ - Sennheiser e935 Sennheiser e935

Total of 4.20/5  

A true workhorse that boast both performance and excellent overall build quality.

+ - Shure BETA 58A Shure BETA 58A

Total of 4.22/5  

The worthy upgrade to an already impressive platform that brings many improvements.

+ - Shure 55SH Series II Shure 55SH Series II

Total of 4.10/5  

Stylish vintage aesthetic paired with proper modern performance and rugged build quality.

+ - Sennheiser E835 Sennheiser E835

Total of 4.03/5  

A very solid workhorse microphone that gets the job done very consistently.

+ - Shure SM58-LC Shure SM58-LC

Total of 4.00/5  

The go-to choice of professionals and a great value for budget users.

+ - Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB

Total of 3.83/5  

A great budget handheld which offers way more than meets the eye.

Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20

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When it comes to high fidelity broadcasting microphones, Electro-Voice RE20 is one of the few models that come to mind. There are plenty of reasons why professionals turn to this mic. For starters, Electro-Voice's Variable-D technology really makes it easy to get that width in the low end when you come close to the mic. However, the core performance of its capsule is probably the most relevant cause. Everything about this mic screams quality, from its die cast chassis to its delicate solutions and technologies. In a studio environment, RE20 achieves great results with recording vocals as well as different acoustic instruments. If you're after a true workhorse that packs tangible versatility, this is the mic you need to get.

Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B

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Shure's may be known for their bulletproof handhelds, but they also offer a number of niche microphones that boast equally as impressive performance. In terms of studio recording, Shure SM7B is the model that inspires most confidence. Just by looking at it, you get the feeling that it's a serious piece of gear. Microphone itself is meant to be mounted on a boom arm. This is made obvious by its integrated swivel system and threaded mount. SM7B features a solid internal capsule suspension and two efficient layers of pop filters. In use, it's a very formidable contender with well thought out features made to enhance your vocal recordings. There are very few other models on the market that can compare.

Electro-Voice RE320

Electro-Voice RE320

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One of the more respected instrument microphones you can get, goes under the name Electro-Voice RE320. What defines it is a nominally flat frequency response that is only supported by their Variable-D technology, as well as the frequency response select switch. The latter allows you to choose between two curves, one dialed in for vocal use and other specifically optimized for instrument recording. Overall, the microphone really pushes a rather transparent sound which is easy to work with and adjust later on. Both available curves are well though out, allowing you to record a whole variety of different instruments. Bang for the buck, RE320 definitely offers a lot of value. If you're looking for a solid workhorse, this is it.

Telefunken M80

Telefunken M80

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On a first glance, Telefunken M80 may come across as just another handheld dynamic mic. That is, if you go and get the base model. M80 not only comes in a variety of finishes, including full chrome or full gold, but it is also one of the most refined mics of its type you can get. Many like to say it's an SM58 on steroids. In a way, that description fits it well. Telefunken didn't include any external features or switches, but they did pack a very solid capsule inside M80. It offers a supercardioid polar pattern and an extremely versatile frequency response. On top of that, it can handle impressive amounts of SPL, making it suitable for instrument use.

Sennheiser e935

Sennheiser e935

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The world of recording microphones has been dominated by Shure for a very long time. Especially the dynamic side of the family. With that said, long gone are the days when this brand had an exclusive right to this segment of the market. Sennheiser's e935 was designed to dislodge its much more popular counterpart, and that is something it does extremely well. The amount of finesse it offers almost matches the performance of a condenser unit. With that said, it is every bit as versatile and flexible as SM58. In essence, it isn't that much better as it is different, offering an alternative take on this type of recording microphone. All in all, Sennheiser e935 is definitely worth checking out

Shure BETA 58A

Shure BETA 58A

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Building upon what many consider to be their bread and butter, Shure has released an upgraded version of their famous SM58. Shure BETA 58A brings a supercardioid polar pattern, a more robust internal suspension and a fairly better overall frequency response. In practical terms, the benefit this updated version brings is more sensitivity and range, thus more expression. It allows you to have more finesse in your recordings, which can definitely improve the quality of the end result. However, performance is not the only thing that has received an upgrade. The chassis and grille have also been reinforced, making it even more durable and rigid than before. You could say that Shure BETA 58A is the SM58 of our time.

Shure 55SH Series II

Shure 55SH Series II

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No matter how advanced the performance and designs of microphones get today, most of us still appreciate a good vintage aesthetic. Shure 55SH Series II was designed to offer exactly that. In essence, they have repackaged the sturdy internals of their SM58 and slapped an old school chassis on it. The result is a microphone that performs as good as any modern dynamic mic, but looks like something that was yanked out of Elvis Presley's music video. Handhelds are great for what they offer, however sometimes you just need to grab that large mic by the horns and wrangle it as you perform. That is what Shure 55SH Series II is all about. It is retro, but still very capable.

Sennheiser E835

Sennheiser E835

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Affordable microphones have become better than ever before. The amount of performance you can get at a reasonable price is fairly impressive. Sennheiser E835 supports this claim with its performance, build quality and overall durability. What Sennheiser wanted to do is offer an alternative to Shure's best selling unit. At first, many were weary of this mic, but now it is considered to be a legitimate choice. Its flat frequency response curve and overall clarity is refreshing. With that said, it is no secret that E835 is geared towards recording vocals. However, Sennheiser E835 has proven to be a formidable piece of kit when you need to record some instruments as well. Last but not least, Sennheiser's warranty is impressive.

Shure SM58-LC

Shure SM58-LC

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If there was one microphone that has been considered the ultimate piece of studio recording gear, it is Shure SM58-LC. It is the choice of both professionals and enthusiasts all around the world. What makes it so popular is the fact that it delivers impressive performance at a price that is attainable by most. You're looking at an extremely rugged mic which works well with a variety of voice profiles, but also comes to shine when you use it to mic up amps as well as acoustic instruments. These days, Shure SM58-LC is the safest choice and the model that is always recommended no matter if you need it for a studio or live stage use. It's just that good.

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB

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Audio-Technica is known far and wide as one of the best providers of solid gear that won't break your bank account. When it comes to dynamic mics, their ATR2100-USB carries this torch. What sets it apart from other models in this market segment is the fact that it includes both an XLR and USB connector. This means you can use it in a studio today, but turn it into a portable podcasting setup tomorrow. In terms of performance, Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB offers a well balanced frequency response with enough transparency to be practical for instrument use as well. Considering how much you're asked to pay for one of these, it can definitely be a good choice for a home recording setup.

What Is A Dynamic Microphone?

Dynamic is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the audio world. Depending on context, it can really mean a number of different things, some of which are loosely relevant. Speaking of relevancy, what is a dynamic microphone in the context we are using today? The answer to this question is simple. This type of microphone uses electromagnetism to turn sound into electrical signal.

In the core of every microphone from this category, you will find a moving coil that is connected to the membrane. When you speak into a dynamic mic, the membrane responds to the sound waves you output, thus moving the coil. The key bit of information here is that the coil is surrounded by a magnets which then turn that mechanical movement into an electrical signal. In way, a moving coil microphone is very similar to a standard transducer.

What most people don’t know is that moving coil mics are not the only type of dynamic microphones out there. There are also ribbon mics, which are every bit a part of this family as the moving coil models are. However, due to their delicate nature and rather niche performance, they are not that popular. You will see them in professional studios where producers are reaching for all kinds of tools in order to achieve the level of quality they are looking for.

What Are Dynamic Mics Used For?

One of the best things about moving coil microphones is the fact that they are so versatile. You can use them in a pretty much any kind of environment, and have them get the job done. Even so, there are three main applications where a moving coil microphone comes as a logical choice. You have live performance, studio recording and instrument recording. Let’s take a closer look at each one and see why dynamic mics are the preferred choice.

Stage Vocal Use – Singing

Live stage requires quite a bit of know-how from both performers and audio engineers backstage. Nailing that balance between instruments and vocalists, allowing singers to cut through the mix, it all takes knowledge and proper gear. However, stage is also one of the most hostile environments for any kind of audio gear, but especially microphones. Dynamic moving coil mics are the go to choice for this use because they tend to be more robust than other types of mics. On top of that, their ability to handle higher SPL values means that you don’t have to tip toe with volume levels. Lastly, they are affordable enough which is great when you need more than one unit on stage.

Studio Use – For Recording Guitars And Other Applications

Moving coil microphones are used for a number of studio applications. For example, recording various guitar amps is one of the most popular uses where a moving coil microphone is still the favorite tool. Acoustic instruments are also fair game, although that depends on the instrument itself. If you are working with loud acoustic instruments, dynamic mics are the go to choice. However, when you are trying to capture subtle detail, a quality condenser mic might be a better choice. Drums are easily the best example of an instrument where you are more or less limited to using a moving coil microphone. Since drums create large amounts of sound pressure, that moving coil is about the only thing that can efficiently record that. Lastly, we have the broadcasting and other vocal applications. Moving coil microphones are the favorite for live broadcasting for a number of reasons, with accuracy being one of the main ones.

How To Choose The Right Model?

This is easily one of the most frequent questions people ask when they are shopping for dynamic microphones. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as easy as just naming a brand and model. You have to answer a couple of questions before you even start your search. For starters, what are intending to do with that microphone? How large is your budget? How many mics do you need? Depending on how you answer these questions, you will find that certain models fit you better than others. Additionally, you should also consider different features and proprietary tech that brands build into their models. Some of them are fairly straight forward, such as the bass roll-off. However, some of them are pretty advanced. If you need an example of this, just check out Electro-Voice’s Variable-D tech.

Despite how cliche it may sound, but going with Shure SM58 is a safe choice. This microphone may not offer jaw dropping amounts of accuracy nor detail, but it is one of the best general purpose models out there. Many beginners are pointed towards this mic when they start out. As you build your knowledge and skill, you will start to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. With that knowledge, choosing your next microphone will become much easier.

Polar Patterns And How They Impact The Performance

When you start researching microphones, one term you will undoubtedly run into a lot is polar pattern. In context of dynamic mics, there are generally two polar patterns that you should know about. First one is cardioid pattern and the other is the supercardioid pattern. In simple terms, a polar pattern defines the field around the microphone, from which the sound will be picked up. Cardioid pattern is picks up sound that is coming from the front, with limited sensitivity to sounds coming off center to both left and right.

Cardioid is the standard for moving coil mics because in most cases you don’t want noise from behind the mic to be in your recording. Supercardioid pattern is more focused to the sound coming from the front, and does a better job at rejecting off axis sound. The only problem is that supercardioid pattern has reduced rear rejection, which can create issues in a live setting.

Depending on the type of application you have in mind, you’ll find that one of these two polar patterns will be the right one. The thing about microphones in general is that no single model will be able to cover everything that an audio engineer needs to be done. That is why most professionals have a wide range of models at their disposal. With that said, if you are just starting out, you can’t really go wrong with a standard cardioid pattern. It offers the best performance and most flexibility.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, moving coil microphones are the most versatile piece of gear you can have at your disposal if capturing live audio is your goal. The models we have shown you today are by far some of the best ones you can find out there. We have included microphones aimed at work with vocals, but also a number of models that work with other applications. Again, the most important thing you have to do is figure out your intended use. Based on that, finding the model that works for you becomes that much easier to accomplish.


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